Twitter introduced mobile retargeting to their ad platform, to further engage and influence users, in a strategy it is calling “Tailored Audiences.”
Retargeting options allow advertisers to serve content to users according to interest, tweet content, accounts followed and searches performed on the platform.
Twitter’s Tailored Audiences open advertisers to 290 million user base
After a beta preview in July 2013, this functionality became globally available on 5th December 2013. Retargeting and personalising ads is not a new idea; Google and Facebook have effectively deployed this strategy since 2009 and 2011 respectively, with Amazon joining the party too.
Twitter acquired San Francisco-based mobile advertising network, MoPub, the world’s largest mobile ad exchange. This development is a strong indication of Twitter’s intention to significantly increase their mobile advertising capabilities; overlaying social targeting data in ads served externally to the Twitter habitat. 80% of Twitter users are active on mobile devices, so this hints towards a lucrative phase for the advertising platform.
An added benefit of Tailored Audiences is a negative sentiment filter, it is hoped this will circumnavigate (potentially damaging) disjointed brand experiences by excluding unhappy customers from ad targeting and instead offer an opportunity to re-engage personally to address complaints or dissatisfaction.
However, many users are unhappy about how their data is used to refine adverts they see. A 2012 survey illustrated that 68% of respondents in the USA were not happy with personalised ads and associated data collection.
UK law requires that users be supplied with resources instructing how to do so to protect their privacy each time they see such an ad. Desktop users who successfully block relevant cookies cannot be targeted in this way.
Further adoption of retargeting services by leading websites may encourage further users to amend their cookie settings, increasing uptake of “Do Not Track” (DNT) settings. However, cookies do not work in the same way on mobile devices. Targeting content is delivered according to smartphone unique Device IDs. Retargeting preferences for mobile users vary, for example Twitter users can prevent Promoted Tweets by updating their individual profile settings within the app.
Twitter is currently working with partners such as Quantcast and Dstillery to enable brands to pull external search data into Twitter for targeted advertising based on the queries. A further example of mobile targeting includes analysing information of apps installed on a device to ascertain a user’s interest categories. For example, if a unique Device ID is linked to a number of hotel or travel apps, Twitter will sell advertising space and rights to travel focused advertisers to improve the relevancy of their marketing activity.
An example of a successful integration of user data and promoted Tweets is Delta Airlines, who engaged with users that searched for flights on their website. By retargeting via sponsored tweets Delta either encouraged users to complete their purchase or upgrade their tickets.
Marketers benefit from mobile retargeting further by implementing an integral line of code, known as a ‘deep link’ into specific web pages and URLs on mobile browsers, which in turn facilitate the immediate launching of a corresponding app, resulting in directed traffic towards chosen pages, information and click-throughs. As their platform is available across multiple channels, aggregators and devices, Twitter is able to target and analyse users from screen-to-screen, employing the highest level of relevant targeting across a wider audience. This targeting may benefit the user by deploying more relevant content and improving their online experience.
Targeting users according to personal data has proven successful. Consumers are more likely to engage with content that appeals to them vs. content tailored to nobody and delivered to a generic market.
Dennis Schaal, editor of Skift News, said of Twitter’s mobile retargeting strategy: “If advertisers find Twitter’s new tailored audiences advertising product effective, you can expect a whole lot more of it. This retargeting could be a perfect fit for tours and activities companies as they try to sell tours while travellers are in-destination and looking for something to do. Or how about a car rental offer served up just as someone debarks a flight? These sorts of things are coming.”